Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Good Day

Any day spent with friends is a really good day!
Quilt friends, Sheila, Kathy and Mary.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Garden Maze

It finally feels like Spring around here and I’ve got a new quilt to celebrate the season. It's inspired by Marian Edwards, whose beautiful blog is a must read for anyone interested in antique and reproduction quilts, especially of the small variety.

Marian made her little quilt with bits and pieces left over from other quilt projects. I had similar bits lying around my own sewing room:

a single Dresden Plate block,

a couple appliqu├ęd flower blocks,

and some strips of 1930's style fabric.

These bits were left over from classes I'd taken or taught. If you make a lot of class samples or demo blocks, why not fashion them from similar styles of fabric? That way, they can be used together in another project, rather than collect dust in your sewing space. My choice of 1930's fabrics was a simple one; anything made with this cheerful palette of colors goes together.

Kathy Smith used my pretty pieces to create a miniature 1930's style sampler quilt. Of course, she had to add quite a bit to the remnants I gave her, but what a worthwhile effort it was!  She brought new life to what certainly would have remained useless scraps, if left in my care.

Kathy hand quilted simple designs, reminiscent of 1930's quilts.

I've named the quilt "Garden Maze," for the labyrinthine pattern created by the strip pieced blocks. It measures 27” square and is backed with a sweet jonquil print.

Our grand kitty, Gandalf, laid claim to the quilt as we tried to take pictures. I love the way his little tippy toes rest right at the edge. 

I hope Spring has sprung where you live and that it inspires you to make something fresh and new.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Birthday Treats

What’s sweeter on a birthday than cake and ice cream? How about a new doll quilt from my friend Barb?

I’ve mentioned before, our tradition of swapping doll quilts on birthdays. Half the fun is the anticipation, knowing exactly what the gift will be, yet trying to guess which pattern and fabrics Barb will use. She's delighted me every time!

This year’s birthday quilt is a Courthouse Steps Log Cabin, made from double pink fabrics and shirting prints, particular favorites of both Barb's and mine.

Each log measures ¾”.

Of course, Barb included a surprise on the back of the quilt too. This time it‘s Parisien advertising labels ~ so pretty!

There were plenty of birthday treats from other friends as well. Terri baked a tray of mini cupcakes, using this classic Chicago restaurant recipe. They were moist, light, and way too easy to pop into my mouth whole. When Linda visited a few days later, she couldn't have known that the peppermint ice cream she brought for dessert would be used as a prop in a photo shoot (or that she‘d be enlisted as photographer).   

Thank you, dear friends, for indulging me so beautifully, so lovingly and so sweetly on my birthday. Your friendship enriches this tiny world I live in and makes it easier to face each day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Every Stitch a Blessing, Every Stitch a Prayer

This is not the blog post I'd hoped to start the new year with. My dad’s health has been declining since Christmas and sadly, he passed away last week. Dad had Lewy Body Dementia, a cruel combination of symptoms similar to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Dad died peacefully in his sleep, while in the care of hospice. He didn’t suffer, he didn’t linger and for that we are grateful. He was a devoted husband, a great dad and grandfather and an all around good guy, who will be remembered for his cheerful and fun loving spirit.

People handle grief in different ways. For me, it 's natural to turn to needle and thread for solace. During the mid 1990’s, my needle got quite a workout when we lost several family members and friends within a few short years: a beloved aunt and uncle, my dear brother and his partner, a favorite grade school teacher, and the owner of the quilt shop where I worked. In the midst of it all, I also received my diagnosis of MS.

It was tempting to wallow in self pity during those years, but I had to keep it together for my health and family’s sake. In true “fake it till you make it” fashion, I turned to quilting to cope with my grief and loss.

I worked intuitively, without a pattern or color scheme, randomly pulling fabrics from my scrap basket, giving them a casual trim with scissors, and putting them in piles of lights and darks. When I had enough pieces to run through the machine, I sewed them into "liberated" log cabin blocks.


What began as mindless stitching became a prayerful experience. Snip, sort, sew. Snip, sort, sew. The quiet focus and familiar rhythm helped soothe my broken heart. 

Each stitch contains a blessing and a prayer for someone I love. It's a mourning quilt of sorts, and a testament to the therapeutic value of quilt making.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Good Ol’ Sandy Claws

Merry Christmas family and friends! I know you’re busy with gifting and feasting and other revelries of the day, but I'd like to share what’s become a favorite part of my festive season, listening to humorist John Henry Faulk's "Christmas Story." His recollection of a special Christmas encounter has become as much a holiday tradition for me as hanging up stockings and decorating the tree.

What was once an annual National Public Radio broadcast is now available online any time, but try to listen to the story while you still have the Christmas spirit. I’ve lovingly dubbed it “Sandy Claws and the Stripedy Candy” because of Faulk’s rich Texas drawl. That’s why I suggest you listen to the story, rather than read it. The dialect adds to its charm. Hope you find ol’ Sandy Claws as endearing as I do!

Monday, December 3, 2012

You’ve Got Mail

A package arrived on my doorstep,

and even though I was expecting it and knew what it contained,

I wasn’t prepared for the color and texture that exploded from the box, as I opened a quilt from Wanda Hanson.

It’s a Streak of Lightning quilt, the latest of many Zig Zag quilts Wanda has made. I’m crazy about this pattern and watched with interest as her project progressed, finally asking if the quilt was spoken for. It was not, and Wanda graciously gifted it to me.

The hand dyed fabrics sparkle and glow like stained glass and I just can’t decide which combination of vibrant colors is my favorite.

It covers me perfectly from nose to toes and is just wide enough to keep me warm without entangling my arms in extra quilt.

Whether I’m snuggled under the quilt or admiring it from across the room, those colorful zig zags make me smile. Thank you, Wanda, for a gift that warms both my body and soul.

  Details and Links

~36” x 63”
~Zig Zag quilt tutorial by Sujata Shah, The Root Connection
~Hand dyed cotton fabrics by Vicki Welsh

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Party’s Over: Confessions of a Control Freak on Thanksgiving Day

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was quiet and casual. My husband did all the cooking and William and his girlfriend were here to share our meal.

I had a blog post all prepared about the extraordinary effort it took to balance MS symptoms with my perfectionist tendencies, wanting to control things I have no control over and having a hard time relinquishing control to those who don’t take control quite the way I want them to. You know, a typical family holiday scenario.

My husband said that if I wanted to focus on the negative, I deserved to feel miserable. So, instead of whining and griping ad nauseam, I've summed up my frustration with a single photo.

This was our guest's view from her seat at the Thanksgiving table. Apparently, I was the only person bothered by this mess, since no one else thought to hide it before dinner.

CLICK PHOTO for the festive details.

Happy Thanksgiving!